by AZREEN HANI/ pic by BERNAMA
THE Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar has expressed dismay at the Home Ministry for its reluctance to review the new criteria of the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme.
He said the ministry’s decision was mind boggling and outrageous, considering that MM2H had brought huge economic benefits to Malaysia.
His Majesty said he would now personally take up the matter soon with Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, especially since Johor is a popular MM2H destination.
According to Sultan Ibrahim on his Facebook post, the potential loss of revenue to the State from this programme was enormous.
The rejection of appeals for a review, Sultan Ibrahim said, was despite the earlier promise by Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin to reconsider the new criteria.
“What we have heard in Parliament is a mere promise to consider MM2H applicants on a case-by-case basis. It falls short of expectations and I can only say that this is pathetic. This is a complete let down to all the existing MM2H participants and the relevant stakeholders,” said His Majesty to the Royal Press Office (RPO) on Friday.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin told Dewan Rakyat Wednesday that the revised criteria for the MM2H programme is for security purposes.
“Some of them are disguising as the MM2H participants, but they are actually using it as a ‘transit’ to carry out unwanted activities.
“That is why focus was given to security for the programme. Let us attract those of high quality to spur economic activities,” he said.
However, Sultan Ibrahim said if security was the main reason for the new criteria, the Home Ministry only needs to revoke the visas of errant MM2H pass holders, instead of a blanket ruling that affects everyone.
“MM2H offers multiplier economic effects. Malaysians benefit and so does the government. But now we are chasing them away. And the bad international publicity is detrimental for Malaysia,“ he stressed.
“I hope good sense will prevail and the government will reinstate the programme without any drastic changes immediately,” he said.
The Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) has raised some reservations on the need to fine-tune the new requirements for the programme.
According to ACCCIM, this is to make the MM2H more competitive relative to Malaysia’s regional peers.
“We also indicated that the new requirements must not be retrospective; only applicable for new applications,” it said in a statement.